Council Approves Next Step in McDougal Solar Process

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Posted: 
Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Mountain View County Council recently authorized County administration to enter into a Design Agreement with SunAlta Power to continue  the process of exploration of the development of a solar project at the McDougal Gravel Pit in conjunction with County plans to develop the remaining lands into a community amenity.

The Design Agreement gives SunAlta further ability to enter the lands (located west off RR 60, just south of Highway 584 in the McDougal Flats Rural Neighbourhood) and undertake studies necessary for the proposed solar photovoltaic system. In addition, the Design Agreement also allows Sun Alta to pursue further partnerships required to support the feasibility of the project.

While SunAlta proceeds with a review of the 40-acre portion for the Solar Project, a public engagement campaign with area residents will be undertaken to determine what the community identifies as priorities for the community amenity portion (the remaining 40 acres). This input will be used for the development of a comprehensive concept plan for the lands. The County expects to begin engagement with the community in early 2022 to begin receiving this input.

While gravel extraction is complete on the portion of the site under consideration for the Solar Project, County Operational Services estimate that remaining stockpile of aggregate will take approximately five years to deplete. Approval of any solar project would not necessarily be contingent on completion of gravel extraction activities on the remainder of the site.

It is also important to remember that any project will be subject to appropriate planning and development processes like any other application that comes before the County. The process for any potential redesignation (rezoning) and other development permits will be strictly followed as with any application from the public.

BACKGROUND

Mountain View County commissioned a study in 2017 exploring the potential to construct a solar photovoltaic (PV) system focusing on two prospective areas within the county.  Based on this initial study the County decided to focus on the reclaimed McDougal Gravel Pit as the preferred location.

In 2019, MVC sent out an RFP for a detailed Interconnectivity Study and Financial Analysis of a potential solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the McDougal Gravel Pit site. SunAlta Power was the successful proponent and delivered the requested studies in early 2020.

Also in 2019, the County applied for, and was awarded, a $70,000 Community Generation Capacity Building Program grant administered through Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. This covered the cost of updating the 2017 report and completing the 2019 Interconnectivity Report and Financial Assessment of a potential Solar PV installation at the McDougal Pit location.

In November 2020, Mountain View County Council authorized County administration to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SunAlta Power to further explore the potential for a solar project at the McDougal Gravel Pit site. Council made the decision to move forward with the SunAlta MOU following a review of submissions to a County-issued Expression of Interest seeking potential partnership opportunities associated with the development of a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installation at the McDougall Gravel Pit site along Range Road 60 just south of Highway 584.

PARTNER INFORMATION

SunAlta Power was established in 2018, by Aenergy Capital (AEC) and BTM Energy Partners (BTM) in response to an emerging need in the Alberta renewable energy market to create a platform that integrated the commercial and technical expertise required to successfully identify, develop and implement commercial/community opportunities for small-to-medium sized decentralized solar PV projects, either as behind-the-meter microgeneration-connected or distribution-connected projects.

The objective of SunAlta Power is to establish and facilitate the development of partnerships that allow for Alberta businesses and communities to become active participants in these opportunities, and to develop low cost and innovative strategies for partnership development, project financing, and project delivery that can be easily replicated and ensure that medium sized projects are economically viable

LOCATION


Location of the McDougal Gravel Pit property, south of Hwy 584, just west off RR 60.

 

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